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Archive for May, 2010

Powell History is looking for student teachers for the 2010-11 school year.

No matter where you live, no matter what you’re doing now, you might be directly involved in creating a second Renaissance by teaching history to the fast-growing community of American homeschoolers, if you become the first “Powell History Apprentice!”

HistoryAtOurHouse, the Powell History program for homeschoolers is now used in nearly 200 households across America, and it is doubling in size each year! Live classes in all levels of the program (lower elementary, upper elementary, junior high, and high school) will be full in the 2010-11 school year, with a substantial waiting list already forming. There is no limit to how big HistoryAtOurHouse can get, except that I, Scott Powell, the creator and teacher of the program, can only teach so many classes! In order to become the top secular history curriculum for homeschoolers in America, and in order not to have to turn away hundreds of students every year, HistoryAtOurHouse will have to grow.

In order to make that happen, HistoryAtOurHouse needs student teachers now.

What kind of student teachers am I looking for?

The ideal candidate to become a Powell History Apprentice is a student of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism with a special interest in history. The minimum qualifications for candidates in terms of philosophical background consist of  having read Ayn Rand’s fiction works The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and Ayn Rand’s non-fiction works,  including at least Philosophy: Who Needs It, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, and Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. Candidates who have taken or are taking classes in the Ayn Rand Institute’s Objectivist Academic Center are especially welcome.

Candidates need not be in academia, nor must candidates be history majors, or have history degrees. Indeed, candidates need not have any specialized historical knowledge to apply.  I did not learn anything that made HistoryAtOurHouse possible in college, and I place no special value on the type of training currently emphasized in universities.  I’d be just as inclined to accept a computing major as a history major.  In fact, a student of Objectivism with a professional background in information systems would be welcome, since HistoryAtOurHouse is an Internet-based program, and computing expertise would definitely be an asset for any candidate.  If you think you don’t fit “inside the box” for teaching history, don’t worry.  HistoryAtOurHouse is all about breaking the box.

One thing that is key, however, for becoming a HistoryAtOurHouse teacher is a basic grasp of Objectivist epistemology.  In particular, candidates need a good understanding of Ayn Rand’s groundbreaking theory of concepts. The unique pedagogical methods employed by Powell History are rooted in Ayn Rand’s theory of knowledge, and any teacher with the program will have to be able grasp the program’s design on a theoretical level.

Another element that is key is a teaching personality.  This is not something that can be obtained through training; you either have it, or you don’t.   Benevolence is one component.  Charisma is one component.  A good sense of humor is another.  A love of children is yet another.  If you instinctively feel that would like to teach kids, and that you would be good at it, then even if you don’t have any experience, you may still be right for the job.

But what about history?  How can you be a HistoryAtOurHouse teacher without being an expert in history?

You can’t.

That’s why I’m looking for student teachers.

All candidates for the position of Powell History Apprentice will learn history from me, regardless of prior education or professional background.

Qualifying Powell History student teachers will receive free access to the entire Powell History series A First History for Adults, which they will be required to complete as the first step in qualifying to become the Powell History Apprentice.  From there, student teachers will be required to read multiple classic history texts, i.e. books written about a hundred years ago.  (Don’t worry, these are nothing like modern textbooks.)  Then, during the 2010-11 school year, student teachers will be required to attend or audit at least two levels of the HistoryAtOurHouse program.  Assuming multiple candidates are able to continue beyond this stage of the preparation, various student teacher assignments, including the teaching of live classes, will be used to determine which candidates are ultimately suited to becoming HistoryAtOurHouse teachers.

Do you think you’re ready to try?

There is no comparable career path available to students of Objectivism at this time.  No other teaching opportunity can offer you a chance to learn history the Powell History way.  No brick and mortar school will let you learn and teach history from the comfort of your own home, or, indeed from anywhere in the world! (Candidates need not be based in the United States.) No other institution in the world shares the Powell History mission and is positioned to expand into the nearly unlimited homeschooling market like Powell History.

This is a unique opportunity to make a difference in the world of education.

Contact me, Scott Powell, at scott@powellhistory.com to seize it.  Be sure to introduce yourself, and tell me why this opportunity excites you.  In addition, please attach your resume and one sample of your writing.

I look forward to finding out if you have what it takes to become the Powell History Apprentice!

–Scott Powell
Creator and Teacher, HistoryAtOurHouse

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One of the things that my readers and students have come to expect from me over the years is book recommendations.  For that reason, I’m thrilled to be able to announce the return of an important book…

Fingerhut Press has just published its first book “A Short History of Ancient Times” by Philip Van Ness Myers.  This is a reprint of a book originally published in 1922, and is first installment in a new History At Our House Series of books for homeschoolers and lifelong learners.  You can learn more about it and order a copy here.

Here is the preface to the HistoryAtOurHouse edition:

Anyone wishing to learn history in America today faces an almost insurmountable challenge.  Modern history texts – even those intended for children – impede the reader with vast quantities of non-essential information.  They abound with biased content (religious, multicultural, politicized, or otherwise subjective) while omitting, or at least deemphasizing, many of the most indispensable facts that render the story of the past intelligible.  Consequently, students find themselves unable to grasp the “big picture” when it comes to human history, and thus lack the foundational awareness required to appreciate the deeper meaning and relevance of its component narratives.

The tragic result for American culture is widespread and growing historical ignorance, and even disdain for history.

An explanation of the causes of the current debacle in historical pedagogy is beyond the scope of this preface.  It is enough for the reader to know that A Short History of Ancient Times is different.

This book was written in a time when historians still believed that the average educated person could and should learn the basic outline of history, and that learning that outline was a necessary step in becoming a “historically-minded” adult.  To facilitate the learning process, historians wrote short, accessible narratives, whose greatest virtue was that they stripped away all the minutiae and interpretive controversies that cloud the story of the past to reveal its straightforward, causal, fundamental progression of events.

I can honestly say that I could not have grasped the basic outline of history without the help of P.V.N. Myers.   I am thrilled that homeschoolers will have this resource at their disposal to help them salvage history education in America.

Scott Powell
Creator and Teacher, www.HistoryAtOurHouse.com

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